Peter Master No Comments

Are You Planning to Fail in Business … ?

“When you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”

Most of us have heard of this famous saying attributable to Benjamin Franklin. It makes sense, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t go for a holiday without a plan, you would never dream of building a house without a building plan too. And, you would never have your wedding without a wedding plan! In fact, many people even hire a Wedding Planner to help them plan their wedding.

So why wouldn’t you have a plan for your business?

Two Main Reasons Why People Fail to Plan

One of the reasons why business owners don’t plan is they feel they don’t have time. Or that planning takes up too much time.

In actual fact, planning saves you time! When you plan ahead you become much clearer about what you have to do. And when you have clarity about what to do, you move at a much faster pace. You’ve anticipated the issues and obstacles and you’ve pre-planned how to overcome these. You’re better prepared. Thereafter, you move ahead much faster.

Another reason why people don’t plan is because they are not sure of the process. Where do you start? How do you proceed? What needs to go into the plan? How do I do it?

Well, you can start anywhere. A half completed plan is better than no plan at all. But of course, a full plan is best.

In just 28 days, 2016 will be upon us. To help you prepare a simple yet solid plan, come join us for Profit Plan 2016. Just click here. At this event, using our C-A-S-T-L-E model, we’ll show you how you can Control your critical numbers, define your goals and Aspirations, clarify your Strategy, select your Tactics, Leverage your resources and Evolve your leadership. It’s a fun and interactive workshop where we’ll guide you step-by-step to prepare your very own 2016 business success plan.

So, come join us at Profit Plan 2016 and take your business to a whole new level in 2016!

Make 2016 a BIG year, your best year!


To your success,

P.S. – Register for Profit Plan 2016 here now!

Peter Master No Comments

23 + 1 Ways to Improve Your Cash Flow

Yes, I know you’re finding it more and more difficult making collections, imported supplies cost more and GST refund is not fast enough …

Obviously, all this puts pressure on your cash flow. And we all know, cash flow is the life blood of any business.

So, in this issue, here are some idea joggers for you to improve your cash flow – treat it as a checklist. Some may work for you, some may work for others …

  1. Set specific targets for your days’ receivables, your days’ payables and your stock turns
  2. Set par levels before ordering more inventory
  3. Carefully project inventory needs
  4. Try to increase Cash Sales
  5. Send out invoices immediately
  6. Send out past-due notices after 14 days, not 30.
  7. Develop a Receivables follow-up System
  8. Explore hiring a factoring firm
  9. Hire a collections agency for seriously overdue accounts
  10. Offer special sales on slow moving /obsolete stock
  11. Phase out items that aren’t selling or aren’t profitable or aren’t leading to other sales
  12. Offer bulk sales to increase inventory turns
  13. Take a down payment on all financing deals
  14. Send all invoices accurately the first time
  15. Never let perishable inventory reach expiry
  16. Appoint one person accountable for payment due.
  17. Appoint one person accountable for tracking inventory levels and turns
  18. Be polite and friendly during follow up
  19. Look at sourcing debt, investment capital or financing
  20. Weed out or reduce trading with slow-paying customers
  21. Find new vendors with more flexible payment terms
  22. Update your cash flow projection weekly / monthly
  23. Review your Receivables report everyday for overdue accounts
  24. Find creative ways to get customers in slow or down times

Now time to implement. Drop me a line to let me know which is your favorite – would love to hear from you.

Peter Master No Comments

Stimulating Sales in A Slow Economy

Yes, it looks like the economic slowdown will be with us for a while…


      So what can you do to stimulate sales, to get more business in these troubled times?

It all starts with knowing your Ideal Customer. At the heart of good marketing is understanding who is our Ideal Customer – what are their needs and preferences, are they brand conscious, value driven or price-conscious? What insights do we have about the way they use our product or service? What’s important to them?


Why do I say focus on your Ideal Customer? Because, in tough times, they are the ones who will support your business, who will keep coming back. The non-ideal customers will look for discounts, buy less frequently and probably complain at every opportunity – send them to your competitors!


Here are 5 things you can do to keep your Ideal Customers coming back for more.

1. Keep Creating Value

Now you’re focused just on your Ideal Customers, your best customers, keep creating and adding value. Instead of handling complaints from your non-ideal customers, spend time on improving your product/service to make your Ideal Customers even happier!

My favourite fruit stall, for example, gave me a surprise last week. She threw in an extra apple after I picked ten! I didn’t expect that at all. Now, I always patronize her, but do you think I might tell a few people about this little gesture of hers? The Law of Reciprocity practically ensures it! If nothing else, she’s got me as a customer for life, anyway.

So, what can you do? Maybe you’re not in retail, maybe your product or service is too high-priced to give away. What about improving your delivery time? What about delivering more efficiently? What about a little booklet of handy tips just for your industry? … Does this give you some ideas?

2. Train Your Team

Yes, this is NOT the time to cut back on training! But focus your training on skills that will get business results. Train everyone to give better service – especially to your ideal clients / customers. This should be at every level. It could be as simple as the cliché “Service with a smile.” But you can probably brainstorm with your team to see how you can improve service at every point in your delivery chain.

One company I know doesn’t have Customer Service representatives … They have Customer Happiness Coordinators instead! How cool is that? Doesn’t it shift the whole mind-set?

3. Invite your Best Customers back

What about inviting your best customers to an exclusive event? Perhaps it’s the launch of a new product(s) in conjunction with your Anniversary. Perhaps it’s an invitation to a product demonstration, or the unveiling of your new logo, new factory, new corporate video … Getting some ideas?

And if they’re your Ideal Customers, your best buyers, what do you think are the chances of making some sales? People like Robinson’s and Metrojaya do it all the time, isn’t it?

4. Upgrade Your Product or Service

Times like these are also great for revamping your product or service. Maybe it’s a line extension. Or perhaps it’s a refreshing or upgrading of product packaging. Could this position your product to cater to new customers with higher disposable incomes?

5. Launch New Products

Another way to generate more sales and new customers is to launch new products. If your product is mainstream, you could look at adding a more premium product to your range or portfolio. Conversely, if you are able to source good quality at low prices, you might consider introducing an “economy brand” at times like this when the customers’ wallet is being pinched by GST, toll hikes, etc.

So there you are. Five things you can do almost immediately to stimulate sales.

Not all five may apply in your case, but if you only do one of these, wouldn’t that help?

And if you’re fortunate enough to have a business where all 5 apply, which will you do first?

Share your results and ideas by clicking below.


Peter Master No Comments

Are You Missing Any of These 7 Essentials for Great Team Work?

We all know playing as a real team gets great results. It’s called Synergy. Who wouldn’t want a strong team, right? Yet, so many organizations are not able to achieve great team work. The thing most people struggle with is “How?” How do you build a great team.

Here are some essentials for building a strong team …

1. Get the right people

Building a team is like baking a cake. The right ingredients make all the difference. Are you using pure butter or margarine? Are you using quality Belgian baking chocolate or local tropicalized chocolate?

To get the right people to join you, you need to identify them, first of all. What qualities would the right people have? Dynamism or Diplomacy? Drive or attention to Detail? Analytical or Creative? Everyone could have the qualification and experience – but not everyone has those specific qualities you’re looking for.

So spend a bit of time to figure out and clarify what specific traits or qualities would be ideal. This alone will help you attract the right people.


2. Strong Culture

Being specific about the traits and qualities of the ideal candidate, coupled with a strong culture will help you to attract the right people.

But most importantly, a strong culture helps hold your team together. I call it the “invisible glue” of any strong team. Every organization, big or small, has a culture. Some call it “core values” but I prefer the term “culture”. It’s “the way we do things here.” A strong culture helps to bond the team together. It represents what’s important to the company and to the team.

Culture is not some pretty words framed up at your reception area. You have to live it, practice it and defend it after you refine and clarify it.


3. An Inspiring Vision

People join and stay with an organization if they can identify with its goals, its purpose, its mission. People who stay on tend to share that common purpose. For example, people who are attracted to join a company like Uber are probably very creative, determined and identify strongly with the company’s vision of reducing carbon emission.

How inspiring is your vision?


4. Roles, Responsibility and Rewards

In high-performing teams, people know exactly what their role is, what their responsibility is, i.e. exactly what is expected of them.

There is no guessing or tripping over one another. New recruits don’t need to guess or figure out what exactly they need to do or how to achieve results. At the same time, if the culture is right, there’s a lot of collaboration and cooperation.

And performance, effort and initiative are monitored, recognized and rewarded. The clearer your goals / KPI’s for each team member, the better they can perform and excel. And when they do, make sure they’re recognized and rewarded.

5. Career Growth and Development

If you have successfully attracted good talent to your company, remember that top people are career-oriented. They place importance on their career growth and development. They look at learning opportunities from their employer and their boss too.

So it’s important that you provide training and development opportunities for your team, especially the top performers. Don’t worry about them leaving after the training. In fact, the opposite is probably true – they’ll leave if you don’t provide any training! Sir Richard Branson says “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”


6. Systems and Process

Do you know that many people leave their job simply because they are so stressed and fed-up with constantly having to deal with issues that keep repeating? They lament about constant fire-fighting – having to do re-work, correct mistakes, rectify problems – all of which could have been avoided in the first place. Also, with systems and processes in place, new hires know how to go about getting things done in the organization. There’s no guesswork or having to keep asking someone for help.

So, have you got systems and processes in place in your business? And, importantly, are these systems and processes being enforced and followed – or are they just being ignored by some team members, causing stress to other departments … ?


7. Open Communication

Finally, ask yourself (and your team) on a scale of 1 -10, how would you rate the Communication in your Company? If it’s ‘7’ or lower, you have some work to do. If it’s 5 or lower, looks like major repair is needed.

Obviously poor communication can lead to all sorts of problems. It ranges from unhappy colleagues and poor cooperation to destructive gossip, unproductive conflicts, poor service delivery and even customer complaints.


Action Step

From the above, it’s clear that building a strong team takes quite a bit of work. What you can do is score yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 for each of these areas and see which is your weakest area. Then start working on that area – because as you know, the team is only as strong as its weakest link.

Get good in each of these seven areas and see your team and your results soar!

Peter Master No Comments

7 Essentials For Business Survival in these Uncertain Times

In the past couple of months we have seen the ringgit plunging to new record lows almost on a daily basis. The stock markets have come crashing down and oil and commodity prices have fallen badly as well. Together with the GST, all these factors have led to weak consumer spending. Items which have to be imported, including raw materials and components, have become more expensive and with all the political uncertainty, we’re living is very troubled and uncertain times.

So, what are some things that we can do to protect our business and to survive this current crisis?

Here are 7 things that every business owner should do to ensure business survival in these uncertain times.

1.Protect your cashflow

Build up your reserves and make sure you keep an eye on your receivables. This is a good time to focus on your best customers and keep your credit and collection policies tight. Slow down or eliminate your poor- paying customers (more on this in point 3 below). Make as much of your sales in cash rather than credit as possible. Obviously you should also be very prudent in your spending, especially on inventory. Watch your stock levels. This is not the time to have cash tied-up in slow moving stocks or heavy over- stocking. Free up your cash flow.

Hold off on your capital expenses unless they are critical for business continuity or for delivery of committed orders.

One more thing. Make sure that you maintain good relationships with your banks. Remember the story of the umbrella being taken away when it rains. Good relationships with your lenders in times like this are always a good idea. Keep them updated on your pro-active steps to keep business running in these troubled times. Forewarn them that you may need more working capital.

2. Protect Your Margins


In times like these, you’re bound to experience cost increases. You have to pass on such cost increases as soon as you can. You have no choice. When push comes to shove, it’s far better to have slightly fewer good customers, than many customers who are not in good standing, not credit worthy or risky paymasters. Unless you are currently operating on exceptionally high margins, you have to protect your margins if you are to pull through this crisis.

3. Step-up your Marketing.

Most businesses will pull back on marketing in times like this, cutting back on their marketing spending. That’s not the right thing to do. If anything, you need more Marketing, not less to generate more leads and more customers, as well as to keep customers coming back. I’m not suggesting that you just spend impulsively. No. You need to make your Marketing work harder than ever.  Make it low cost and even more effective – make sure that you are measuring the results that you are getting. This is a time to get really creative in your marketing. Every Marketing dollar you spend has to generate results. Now’s not the time for image or “brand-building”- type activities. Direct response Marketing is the order of the day,

4. Scrutinize your critical numbers

Your marketing numbers are your goldmine! Study your best customers buying patterns. Monitor the size of their purchases. Understand what are your best sources of leads, and your cheapest lead generation strategies. Track your conversion statistics from each lead source. Track the conversion or closing rate of each of your sales people. Test which promotions work harder for you.

All this will help you drive more powerful and more effective Marketing.

5. Slow down or eliminate your poor- paying customers.

Like I said above this is the time to weed out your poor paying customers, your non performing customers and focus on your good loyal customers. Customers who are willing to pay you on time and who themselves have a good strong business. You have to move away from the paradigm that, you know, any business is good, better than no business. That is not true. Your poor paying customers will rob your business of cashflow and that is starving you, like starving the body of oxygen. So make sure you focus on your best customers.

6. Get rid of deadwood

Be lean but not mean. Now is the time to make sure you keep only your top performers. The poor or non-performers will have to go. No matter how long they may have been with you. They are draining your cash flow, and more importantly they are sapping the energy of the rest of your team. You don’t want to be like MAS, right….with a bloated and unproductive work force. Is it fair to the good performers that they have to carry the poor performers?

7. Leverage: Train your team and increase their productivity

With the good people that you keep, make sure you train them well so they can be even more productive. Work on their communication skills, their time management skills, their telephone skills. Better yet, improve their sales skills. Investment in such training will always give you a good return. As Abraham Lincoln used to say, “if I have six hours to chop a tree down, I’ll soend four hours sharpening my axe!” How sharp is your “axe”? How sharp is your team’s “axe”?

Do these seven things and you’ll have a good chance of getting through this difficult period. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Stay positive and mentally strong. Be in the company of like-minded positive people. Unless, the Ringgit really does a free fall and hits 5! God forbid!

All the best!